Benjamin Moore’s 2020 Color of the Year Is First LightBy
Hannah Martin, Architectural Digest
For a few months every year at Benjamin Moore, a team of color specialists gets a little more philosophical than usual. “What does 2020 mean? And how can we express that with a color?” These are the questions Andrea Magno, Benjamin Moore’s director of color marketing and development, has been asking as she and her team canvas trade shows, visit art exhibitions, study trend reports, and file away the colorful sightings of their daily lives. Their job? To take the temperature of the times and select a single hue from a deck of more than 3,500 that sums up the results.
This year, the winning paint chip is First Light, a soft, not-too-sweet pink that is flattering and fun. As the Benjamin Moore team looked forward to a new decade, they searched for a color that could capture their budding sense of optimism about the next 10 years. “When you look at color over time there is often a direct relationship between what shades are popular and what is happening in the world,” Magno explains to AD PRO. “At the brink of 2020 we were just thinking, Let’s be upbeat; let’s be happy.”
First Light emits a warm glow past a kitchen painted in Golden Straw, a hue from the 2020 Color of the Year palette.Photo: Courtesy of Benjamin Moore
Pink feels fitting. And there’s no denying it’s in the air. From Pantone’s Rose Quartz, made popular as part of the color authority’s 2016 color of the year selection, to ubiquitous millennial pink—varying shades have been popping up, frankly, everywhere. Magno has taken notice. “From a research standpoint, we’ve seen pink becoming a more mainstream color,” she says. Once reserved for baby showers, lipstick, and little girls’ rooms, these days pink is just as likely to color the chic offices of Dimorestudio, an AD100 design firm based in Milan, or the Brooklyn home of fashion designer Adam Lippes. After decorating the home of Anne Hathaway and Adam Shulman,AD100 designer Pamela Shamshiri noted, “They’re very into pink.” Over the last few years, Magno argues “pink has evolved.” And First Light is a testament to that. With slightly blue undertones, it’s more nuanced than millennial pink and, in Magno’s words, “something you can really live with day in day out.”
You might venture to say it’s the new white, beige, or gray (Benjamin Moore’s 2019 Color of the Year was Metropolitan, a silvery gray)—in the way that the tone can layer with almost anything. The difference? It delivers a dose of color in the process. “You’re not hit over the head with pink,” Magno explains. “Even if you use it on all four walls—it’s there, it’s enhancing the surroundings, it’s pulling everything together. But it’s not, like, whoa!”
First Light seen covering kitchen cabinets. The walls are painted in Thunder. Photo: Courtesy of Benjamin Moore
Benjamin Moore has also created a larger grouping of nine hues that go well with First Light. The color of the year palette ranges from deep, dramatic shades like Cushing Green and Blue Danube to sweet, Gustavian tones like Golden Straw and Windmill Wings. But its possibilities extend beyond Benjamin Moore’s prescribed palette. When pressed to come up with a color that wouldn’t go well with First Light, Magno was stumped. “My first thought was: I don’t know if I’d pair it with orange. But actually, if orange is an accent, it could work. This color is surprisingly flexible.”
Andrea Magno, Benjamin Moore’s director of color marketing and development, recommends using First Light in dining rooms. Photo: Courtesy of Benjamin Moore
There’s something else it pairs well with: you. “Pink is just one of those colors,” Magno says, repackaging an age-old decorator trick for the selfie generation. “Everyone looks good in a pink room.” Now that’s a claim that can sell paint.